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Hanukkah

Happy, Merry Chrismukkah!

IMG_0052As a Cashew, I grew up with Christmas and Hanukkah, otherwise known as Chrismukkah. Yes, I was one of those lucky brats that was extra spoiled come December. Needless to say, it was also confusing about what exactly I was supposed to be celebrating. But I always knew that presents and good food were involved which was, and still is, good enough reason for me.

These days, I only celebrate Hanukkah but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Christmas. I love the lights, the scent of fresh pine, and the music. The Charlie Brown/Vince Gauraldi Christmas album does it for me every time. I decorate our home with blue, white, and silver but I like to throw a dash of Christmas in there to honor my Christmas past. We don’t get a tree, but I love having a fresh pine garland nestled on the mantle under the menorah. And of, course, we have to have our Hanukkah stockings hanging above the fireplace.  On Christmas Day, I fill them with little presents. Santa might not come to our house, but Hanukkah Harry pays a visit!

The Monkey will know Christmas since half of my family celebrates the holiday.  He will go to his grandma’s house on the 25th and open presents and sing carols. We will drive around to see the holiday lights and make a gingerbread house and Christmas cookies. Maybe we’ll even leave a few out for Harry. It’s the little things that I loved as a child during Christmas that I plan to incorporate into our own holiday traditions. Hanukkah, sprinkled with a touch of Christmas, will be something that I hope he looks forward to every December. Just like I do.

How do you celebrate the holidays? What type of traditions do you plan to pass on to your kids? Would love to hear from you.

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Foodie Friday: Lotsa Latkes

Hanukkah is over tonight, which means that I won’t be seeing any more of these dangerous little suckers for another year. My waistline (what’s left of it) and cholesterol level are both thankful. I didn’t make the latkes this year, which was nice. Instead, my mother-in-law prepared these while the Dude took pictures.  What did I do? Nothing but eat.  That was the best present of all.

Click on the pictures to expand.

Grated Potato in the Frying Pan

My mother-in-law makes the best latkes. (continues…)

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Foodie Friday: The Festival (And Feast) Of Lights

We use this beautiful Nambe Menorah

We use this beautiful Nambe Menorah

Today is Hanukkah Eve and over the next 8 days, many presents will be opened, many candles will be lit, and many calories will be consumed. Hanukkah is a very happy holiday, especially for the little ones! The traditional food served makes it an especially fun (and fattening) one.  Even if you don’t light a menorah, you can still enjoy the delectable treats traditionally served during this wonderful time of year.

When I am preparing a Hanukkah feast, or any other Jewish holiday meal, there are two places I go to for recipes and ideas. The first is my mother-in-law. She is a fantastic cook and has shared many of her delicious family recipes with me over the years.  My other recipe resource is the cookbook Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays by Marlene Sorosky. You don’t have to be Jewish (or even a Cashew) to love and appreciate these recipes.

I will feature my Hanukkah feast in the next segment of Foodie Friday. Until then, enjoy these recipes from my mother-in-law’s kitchen and mine:

Mini Potato Latkes (adapted from Karen Emmer)

  • 6 medium white (baking) potatoes
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped fine)
  • 2-3 tablespoons matzo meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

In mixing bowl, combine beaten eggs and onion. Cut cleaned potatoes and grate or shred in the food processor. Add to egg mixture and add matzo meal, baking powder, salt, and pepper.

Using a large skillet, heat small amount of oil and drop the mixture in by the tablespoon. Brown well and drain on paper towels. Recipe makes 3-5 dozen latkes, depending on your definition of “tablespoonful.”

Serve with sour cream or apple sauce!

Brisket

Preheat oven for 300 degrees.

  • 3-4 lbs of first-cut flat-piece of brisket.
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon of white horseradish

Combine the ketchup, water, mustard, wine vinegar, dried minced onion, and horseradish and whisk together. Place the brisket in a roast pan or glass dish and cover the meat with the combined mixture.  Cover the brisket loosely with foil and cook slowly at 300 degrees. It takes about 4 hours to cook, depending on the size of the brisket and your oven. It’s done when the meat is tender enough to be cut with a fork. If it’s too tough, keep cooking!

The brisket can be cooked the night before and refrigerated. To reheat, first discard the solidified fat and carve the meat. Slice brisket thinly against the grain.  Bake in the oven at 325 or 350 degrees, covered, for about 40-50 minutes.

Happy Hanukkah!

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